Something precious and wonderful happened this week when Lacey Kilgore's Demoney Elementary first-graders went to the Estherville Good Samaritan Society Wednesday.
First, Bee Graettinger, resident and herself a former teacher, read to the students. Then it was the students' turn to read to read to the residents.
What was so charming was that the first-graders had dressed as though they were 100 years old - in observation of their 100th day of school, of course. Remarkably, despite their tender age, the students seemed to have a deep empathy for the residents, understanding what their lives were like and sharing their accomplishments and the challenges life has presented them over the years.
And the residents' response was wonderful. There were smiles galore with grandmothers and great-grandmothers putting their arms around the children as though they were their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
And in a sense they really are.
Estherville has long prided itself on its close-knit sense of community. From birth to childhood, from youth to adulthood, from retirement to the last golden years, we seem to care for each other here. When a child is born, it's a joy that extends to not just the family but to those around them. When a child accomplishes something in school, or makes a bucket on the basketball court, the community is there to cheer him or her on.
It's events such as what happened at Good Sam Wednesday that show how strong our community really is. How much we care for one another.
We really hope the school continues with programs such as this, bringing young students in to visit with the residents. The children can benefit too, by the knowledge these residents possess. It's absolutely priceless.
ELC and Good Sam staff should be commended for bringing these children and residents together.
Our only suggestion would be that it happen more often.